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Using Beer Yeast for a Sourdough Starter


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Can anyone give me any pointers for using yeasts normally used in Beer/Wine/Champagne to make bread? Or using beer itself? I've tried Prise de Mousse (sp?) and Pasteur Champange yeasts with mixed results, and wondering who else has tried this...

The Prise de Mousse turned out great, and when proofing, smelled like the Korbel Winery.

The Pasteur Champange yeast seemed to be nothing special, but maybe I killed it with the tap water we have here (chlorine :wacko: )

BKB

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I'm not sure I understand the motive for the experiment. What about the dough's fermentation are you trying to alter? Do you expect to be able to taste the difference between yeast from one source and yeast from another? I've never considered that as a possibility. Any difference I would normally relate to a shorter or longer fermentation, a cooler or hotter fermentation, and you could achieve those differences using just bakers' yeast. I'll be interested to find out if I'm wrong.

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I'm not sure I understand the motive for the experiment.  What about the dough's fermentation are you trying to alter?  Do you expect to be able to taste the difference between yeast from one source and yeast from another?  I've never considered that as a possibility.  Any difference I would normally relate to a shorter or longer fermentation, a cooler or hotter fermentation, and you could achieve those differences using just bakers' yeast.  I'll be interested to find out if I'm wrong.

I can't speak for BKB, of course, but one reason I'm curious about it is that it's of great historical interest; time was, most baking - or at any rate most country-house home baking - was done with yeast derived from in-house brewing. (Have to confess that this is one of the cop-outs in some of my own otherwise-fairly-accurate historical work: because of deadline constraints I've had to use modern commercial yeast in some cake recipes. Not that I'm quite ready to go in for home-brewing, but I imagine in hindsight I could have found a home-brewer to work with. Next time.... :sigh:)

EDIT to add: first place I would look, I think, is Elizabeth David's bread book. I'm pretty sure she covers this in depth.

Edited by balmagowry (log)
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Yes, for historical reasons it would be interesting. (But then one would want flour ground only on stone, too!) Do you know, balmagrowry, how long bread was made that way? I've assumed it was a transitional technique bridging the exclusive use of natural leavens, and the availability of "bakers'" yeast.

My first trip in the time machine would be to a baker's shop before yeast, before roller milling, before vanilla, before the massive availability of refined sugar.

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The strain of yeast has an influence on flavor, a fact that anyone who has made beer or wine can attest. I have tried making bread with champagne yeast and can report that although neither beer nor champagne made with baker's yeast is fit to drink, the change in flavor of bread is very subtle and barely, if at all, noticable. I think this is due to the fact that the yeast in bread is killed and the alcohol it generates driven off by the high baking temperature. Wine and beer brewing is done at around room temperature once the yeast has been added, so that the yeast is not killed (it just goes dormant when a sufficiently high alcohol level is reached) and the alcohol it produces together with the other organics produced during fermentation (that, for example, give some beers a 'buttery' flavor) are destroyed in the heat of baking.

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Right here, Wendy. I'm also wondering if the yeast produced for grape and beer fermentation is formulated to eat different kinds of sugars. Yeast for breadmaking feeds on sugars that are released by enzymatic action. It can't feed well on sucrose. But grape juice and wort are full of what, fructose?

It wouldn't even occur to me to try using champagne yeast for breadmaking. I tried it for root beer, and used TOO much. I lost 14 out of 16 bottles to concussive explosions. I had to stop making the stuff when I realized that drinking a batch of root beer meant I just consumed a 5 lb bag of sugar.

Try a web search for Craig Ponsfords beer bread if you want to fool around with flavor. It has roasted hops and dark beer in it, made with both a poolish and sourdough mother.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi I am new to bread baking (only been at it for about 4 weeks now) and was wanting to start my own yeast strain so I could avoid using instant dry yeast some of the time. So my question is it possible to use beer yeast from my local brew supply store to start a good yeast culture for bread?

If no one has tried this before I will probably give it a shot anyways and see what happens.

Jonathan

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

Aristophanes

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FYI: All this will do is give you a false sense of security in starting the culture, as you will see some activity from the commercial yeast for the first several cycles. Eventually these yeasts will die out and, if everything goes right, be replaced by a symbiotic culture of wild yeast and lactobacilli. All that "starting" a culture with beer yeast or bread yeast or juniper berries or grapes or honey or whatever does is delay the inevitable. Considering that the inevitable is what you want anyway, why not simply start with flour and water?

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Ah, I guess I am confused as to where the wild yeast comes from. I had read on using honey, grapes and raisins to provide the base, and figured that you were cultivating the yeast from them for your sponge. You are saying though that the yeast is coming from another source, and that I could just start using flour and water?

Thanks for the time in helping me understand this

Jonathan

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

Aristophanes

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Ah, I guess I am confused as to where the wild yeast comes from.  I had read on using honey, grapes and raisins to provide the base, and figured that you were cultivating the yeast from them for your sponge.  You are saying though that the yeast is coming from another source, and that I could just start using flour and water?

Thanks for the time in helping me understand this

There's actually wild yeast all over the place. Starting with things like juniper berries or grapes takes advantage of the yeast that is on them. Yeast is also just floating around in the air too though, so as Slkinsey says, you don't really need to use anything but flour and water. The yeast will be attracted to it as a food source and will set up shop there. All you have to do take care of them at that point.

Set up equal parts flour and water and let it sit for a day. Come back to it and if you start to see some activity and it starts to smell yeasty, discard half of the flour/water/yeast mixture and at least double it with fresh flour/water. Do this for a couple more days and you should have a starter that you can maintain indefinitely.

You can use berries that naturally have yeast on them but you don't have to. Some people think that helps to kick start the process and they might be right, but it's just as easy to do it without them. Using honey would only provide some sugar for the yeast to eat, but they're probably just as happy unlocking the sugars from the flour. Using brewer's yeast puts you in the position of having the yeast in your control rather than waiting for them to be attracted to the flour/water. You don't really have to do this, though, but it would certainly be easier than waiting.

nunc est bibendum...

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Since you have a brewers supply near you ask them for yeast used in the Belgian wit beers and the like. They probably also have some sour "wild" yeast around also. There is a whole group of beers that are soured with wild yeast. That would at least get you started in the right direction. Brewers yeast won't as a rule taste much different than bakers yeast. The ones used for some of the Belgian beers though should be very different.

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The "tang" of sourdough bread doesn't come from yeast. It comes from lactic acid-producing bacteria. Lactic acid-priducing bacteria are also responsible for the sourness of lambic beers, but these are different strains. The bacteria in lambic beers are Lactobacillus delbrukii and Pediococcus damnosus, whereas the bacteria in a sourdough are other strains such as Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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Thanks slkinsey I appreciate the help I will try starting this tonight. Also the thread you linked me to was exactly what I needed, I just missed it not knowing the terms to search for.

Jonathan

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

Aristophanes

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